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Valley Public Radio Honors Black History Month 2021

MLK and The Fierce Urgency of Now! is produced by WNYC and the Apollo Theater

This February, Valley Public Radio honors Black History Month with a series of broadcast specials providing fresh insights into African American history and the challenges of today. Hear historical profiles, music, and frank discussions about race, policing, and the fight for equality amid a system and society imbued with systemic racism. The broadcasts can be heard Thursday nights at 7:00 PM in the month of February.

MLK and The Fierce Urgency of Now!
Thursday February 4, 2021 – 7:00 PM
This special broadcast from WNYC’s The Takeaway and The Apollo Theater will unpack the implications of the 2020 US Presidential Election through the prisms of civil rights and modern day social justice movements. The Black community’s historic and adversarial relationship with law enforcement and western medicine institutions represent acute focal points to be addressed. Co-hosted by The Takeaway’s Tanzina Vega, and WNYC’s Jami Floyd and Brian Lehrer.

Featured guests include:

  • Congressman James E. Clyburn, Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from South Carolina
  • Reverend Dr. William Barber, II, President of Repairers of the Breach and Co-Chair of The Poor People’s Campaign
  • Dr. Bernard Lafayette, Jr., Civil Rights activist and Co-Founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
  • Nikole Hannah-Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and creator of The New York Times’ 1619 Project
  • Letitia James, Attorney General for the State of New York
  • Dr. Uche Blackstock, Yahoo! News Medical Contributor and Founder & CEO of Advancing Health Equity
  • Dr. Jeff Gardere, Associate Professor of Behavioral Medicine at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Queen Afua, Five-time best-selling author and CEO of the Queen Afua Wellness Center
  • Leslé Honoré, Blaxican artist and activist, who will read from her book of poems Fist & Fire

Selected Shorts Celebrating James Baldwin
Thursday February 11, 2021 – 7:00 PM

Guest host LeVar Burton presents a program celebrating the author he calls “potent and polemical.” Christopher Jackson reads an excerpt from Baldwin’s famous letter The Fire Next Time: in “My Dungeon Shook,” he addresses internalized racism. Next, Anthony Rapp performs an excerpt from Giovanni's Room, in which an expat comes to terms with his sexuality and loneliness in Paris. And Baldwin contemplates The Great Migration in his novel Go Tell It On The Mountain. We hear an excerpt performed by Charlayne Woodard. This program originally aired in 2019. Selected Shorts is one of public media’s longest-running cultural shows, offering short fiction in performance by distinguished actors from stage, screen, television and audio.

Witness: Black History Month
Thursday February 18, 2021 – 7:00 PM

A special hour-long edition of Witness History from the BBC World Service, bringing together some incredible interviews looking at the African-American experience. Told by people who were there, we hear stories that are fascinating, harrowing, and inspiring. Segments include: NASA's pioneering black women, When Nelson Mandela went to Detroit, African Americans and the "Three Strikes Law", The last survivor of the transatlantic slave trade and Ann Lowe - African American Fashion Designer.

Lift Every Voice: A Musical Story From Sorrow to Justice
Thursday February 25, 2021 – 7:00 PM
A collection of powerful songs, stories and interviews with some of today’s most acclaimed Black Artists and Scholars. This program was curated with the intent of creating awareness around the African American musical past, while inspiring listeners to cling to the hopefulness of our musical future together as every voice is heard and celebrated. Hosted by Tesfa Wondemagegnehu and Julie Amacher.